Masturbation isn't just about reaching an orgasm, it's a way of exploring your sexual pleasure - to find out what makes you hot and bothered. Most sexual people masturbate but generally, the spotlight is shone more on male masturbation compared to female solo sex. The female anatomy is grossly understudied and misunderstood by so many people including women that the question of pleasure doesn't even arise. But everyone deserves to experience sexual pleasure, not just men. Especially, when there are so many different ways women can experience tingles and goosebumps all over their body- the good kind of goosebumps. Moreover, your sex-ed class in school might have skipped over this but apart from the pleasure, masturbation has several health benefits, too!
Is masturbation good for you?
Yes, it's medically proven to be. Leah Millheiser, MD, clinical assistant professor and director of female sexual medicine at Stanford University Medical Center tells Women's Health, "Masturbation releases stress and anxiety. We know that you get total-body relaxation after an orgasm, which is great for someone who's tense."
It also ensures healthy blood flow to your vagina and moreover, it's the most reliable sexual activity that won't get you pregnant or an STI!
According to Medical News Today, research on masturbation suggests that sexual stimulation can enhance sleep quality, concentration, elevate mood, relieve menstrual cramps and alleviate pain. So, you should probably add this to your Saturday night self-care time to release all the week's stress.
Masturbating can also improve your sex life - it may help you get comfortable in bed. Millheiser says, "People who don’t masturbate are more likely to have difficulty reaching orgasm with a partner." So, learn about your erogenous zones during solo sex and when you finally get into the action with your partner, you might feel closer to them and more confident around them. Millheiser adds that having an orgasm with your partner creates a stronger bond with your partner as orgasms release oxytocin, a powerful hormone.
Masturbation holds a lot of shame and women are discouraged from discussing their sexual desire and pressured to keep it a secret. Sometimes, they're advised to avoid it altogether, despite it being crucial for good sexual health. As a result, women think there's a thing as too much masturbation. But it isn't really dangerous unless it is interfering with priorities and daily tasks. You can do it every single day and reach multiple orgasms too! - in other words, you can have your cake and eat it too.
If you're looking for new ways to add thrill and excitement to your daily masturbating session or are a newbie at solo sex, here are some tips and a comprehensive guide on how to get started.
What kinds of masturbation are there for women?
Clitoral: Most women prefer clitoral stimulation as it's the most sensitive part of a woman's body with 8,000 nerve endings. The clitoris is tiny, about the size of a pearl or pea and it's at the top of your vulva, under the hood formed by the inner labia. Here's one way to stimulate the clitoris:
- Start by massaging the fleshy area on top of your pubic bone, then gently run your fingers along the outer and inner lips of your vulva.
- Then rub or stroke your clitoris through the hood. You can form a "V" with your index and middle fingers and slide them up and down the sides of your clitoral shaft. Choose whichever method feels better.
- You can increase the pressure and speed of your fingers once your clitoris becomes wet or after lubing up. This will help you reach an orgasm.
- If you have a vibrator, you can ditch the fingerwork and simply run your sex toy up and down the area until you orgasm.
- Best position: Lying on your back is the most recommended position for clitoral stimulation.
Vaginal: This is similar to penetrative sex and you can either use your fingers or a sex toy to penetrate your vagina during solo sex. Vaginal orgasms are reported to be felt deeper in the body due to the intense throbbing of vaginal walls. It can be harder to climax with vaginal stimulation but it can still bring you immense pleasure even if you don't orgasm. Here's a how-to guide on vaginal orgasms:
- First massage your vaginal opening, then begin to insert your fingers or sex toy into your vagina. Ensure that your vagina is wet or that you've applied lube to avoid roughness and friction as that can be painful.
- Move your fingers or toy in a circular, in and out, stroking or in a combination of all three motions.
- As you start to feel heightened sexual arousal and sensations, increase the speed and pressure. You may reach your peak as you do this but it's okay if you don't reach an orgasm in the first go as it's difficult to get an orgasm solely through vaginal penetration.
- Best position: Try squatting if you're comfortable. It makes it easier to stimulate your vagina. As you're crouching start to slide your fingers or toy into your vagina and go as deep as you like.
Anal: Before you write this one off, hear us out. Anyone can practice anal play, and you can still get off through it by stimulating the wall shared between the rectum and vagina. But remember that it's compulsory to use lube as your anus doesn't self-lubricate naturally. Here's how to get started:
- First, ensure that your hands, sex toy and anus are clean. Then, begin to massage the outside and inside of your anal opening.
- Apply the lube and then slowly insert your finger or sex toy into your anus to whatever capacity you can handle.
- Keep switching between circular and in and out motion as you penetrate your anus. Again, go faster as the sexual arousal begins to build up.
- Best position: Try face-down doggy-style as it opens you up for more pleasure. It gives you the room to insert your fingers comfortably.
Combo: After getting the hang of the above techniques, you can use both hands to play with your vagina and clitoris at the same time. According to Healthline, stimulating your clit and vagina together is a recipe for an explosive orgasm. You can even use a sex toy for your vagina and use your hand to stimulate your clit or vice-versa. This kind of stimulation really intensifies feelings of pleasure.
Erogenous zones: Don't just touch your genitals, feel every part of your body and play around with various touches (rubbing, tugging, pinching, tickling, etc) and sex toys (feathers, blindfolds, finger vibrators) to stimulate your whole body.
For example - you can rub, pinch, pull, squeeze or tug at your nipples, inner thighs, ears, neck, shoulders and other erogenous zones.
Mia Sabat, a sex therapist at Emjoy, talks to the Net Doctor on exploring erogenous zones of our bodies. "Everyone has unique parts of their body which they love being touched, or gain arousal from. You’d be surprised where you can find them – but the best places to start are often sensitive areas like your earlobes, neck and inner thighs.”
Sabat adds, “Nipples are a very sensitive area of the body, and one of our key erogenous zones. When masturbating, experiment with your breasts and nipples to find out how (and if!) you like them to be touched." She advises women to explore the overlooked parts of their bodies and learn something new with this fun exercise- they're bound to stumble on something interesting this way.
What is the best position to masturbate in for women?
There is no position that pleases all. You have to experiment and find what's right for you. Some people like to hump a pillow, while others prefer the old-fashioned lay on your back position. Some might like to rub their clit against the bed or have their knees bent. There is no perfect position to masturbate in, it depends on your personal taste that you'll only discover once you experiment and move around.
How to prep for a masturbating session?
You don't necessarily need anything fancy to masturbate but it would make it nicer and way more fun if you did. With simple changes in the scenery and preparations for your solo sex session, you can make every masturbation session a memorable one. At least the ones for which you have time for.
Set the mood with a sensual setting: You need good lighting to create an erotic shift in the mood - dimming the lights, lighting scented candles and setting up a mood playlist are some good ideas to start with. Put the same efforts to create a sexy mood when you do during patterned sex! It's hardly sexy if your room is messy and covered with dirty laundry and empty beer bottles. Clearing out your room can also clear your mind, get you focussed on the task at hand (pun intended) and increase your chances of having an earth-shattering orgasm.
Keep the lube ready: When your body is aroused, it self-lubricates making masturbation a much smoother experience. However, sometimes it may not be enough, especially for anal play, so it's good to keep some on the side.
Take your time and let your imagination run wild: Don't rush yourself or pressure yourself too much. Play around with techniques and notice the sensations you're feeling throughout your body. While you're doing that delve into your imagination and think of the hot guy you met at the gym. Fantasise a situation and make it as vivid as possible by playing with the details.
Play around with sex toys: Solo sex is so much more fun with toys to help you out. Clearly, vibrations are hard to replicate by hand and they add unique stimulation during masturbation. A good vibrator will reward you with buzzing sensations pulsating through your genital area. It can even stimulate deeper portions of the clitoris with enough pressure.
Usually, there is a stigma attached to sex toys but there is nothing wrong with investing in a good vibrator or dildo for your sexual pleasure. They're also self-affirming tools that remind you that your body and pleasure are important - something that women aren't told enough. There are certain myths regarding vibrators that they make women dependent and take away their ability to get off during partnered sex. But as mentioned, they're just myths.
Vibrators are great masturbation tools and that's why many women recommend it. Some women after using it, however, feel self-conscious about the fact that they can't get off easily without a vibrator. They often think something is wrong with them and that a penis should be the ultimate way to get off but there's no book or doctor that can attest to this. If you're into vibrators, buy them and form a collection - whatever heightens your pleasure. Don't have sex toys? Try stimulating yourself by using a showerhead on the clitoris or rubbing your vulva against a pillow.
Read or listen to erotica or watch pornography: If your mind is wandering too much and not staying focussed - read or listen to sexy erotica. If you want to turn up the heat to full, pull up a sexy video on your phone and get in the mood immediately.
Try mirror sex: Looking at your reflection while masturbating is a great way to discover your body and look at yourself getting turned on. If you have a mirror at home, sit in front of it and lube yourself all over your body - your neck, breasts, belly, inner thighs and vulva. Pretend like you're starring in an erotica or performing a show for your partner.
While you're exploring your body and running your hands all over, try closing your eyes or using a blindfold to enhance other sensations. This way you'll also be entirely focussed on your touch and the sensations you create as your hands gently map out your body. If you're experiencing problems or hesitancy with any of the techniques, try consulting a friend about it. You could also speak to a sex therapist and understanding what's the roadblock during your solo sex time.